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Minimalist email app Mailbox, has finally made its way to Android, a little more than one year after it launched on iOS. The app helps you manage your inbox so that you never have any emails just sitting around in it.
Instead, Mailbox trains you take action on every message you receive, whether that's archiving it for safe keeping, deleting it, hiding it away until a later time, or organizing it in a list. Using simple swipe-based gestures, you can quickly move through your inbox doing away with the messages you don't want and stay on top of the ones that you need.
Mailbox only supports two kinds of email accounts; Gmail and iCloud. Unfortunately, you cannot automatically sign in your Google email account through the app, like you can with most Android apps. You have to manually enter your credentials for both Gmail and iCloud.
If you've been using the Gmail's inbox tabs, which attempts to organize each email you get into category-based individual inboxes (which are named Social, Promotions, Forums, and Updates), Mailbox might feel overwhelming at first, because all of your email gets dumped into one single inbox.
Mailbox's streamlined look keeps the app's overall aesthetic uncluttered. All of its action buttons are icons, which is initially confusing because you don't know what's what, but they make sense after you go through a short tutorial.
Above your inbox is a navigation bar. On the left is an icon with three lines for menu items (you'll recognize this from apps like Facebook), and on the right is the usual "compose new message" icon.
In the middle are three icons: a clock, Mailbox's logo, and a check mark. Hit the clock (or "snooze" icon) and you can access all the mail you've set aside to deal with later (we'll expand on that). Hit the check mark and you can see all your archived mail. The Mailbox logo returns you to your inbox.
You can access all three categories from the menu list, as well. In addition, when you hit the menu list, you can also bring up archived, trashed, and sent mail, general app settings (where you can setup your Gmail or iCloud accounts if you have more than one, customize your signature, adjust notification settings, fuss with sync preferences, etc.), and get some troubleshooting tips.
In its aim to be minimalistic, the app has done away with any and all Gmail labels. Each of us uses labels and folders in Gmail all the time, and some labels directly connect to different email addresses altogether. The only way to access those emails is by going to your archive folder. The fact that labels aren't easily accessible irks me a little. Instead, Mailbox has Lists, which Mailbox presets, so you can file away emails under a certain category. You can create more as you go along, but you initially start with "To Buy," "To Read," and "To Watch."
When you open up a single email, you can still access the previously mentioned navigational icons. At the bottom of an email are several arrows. Hit the arrow pointing to the left to reply to the message. Next to it are double arrows (for reply all), and a right arrow (for forwarding).
Email threads look similar to message threads in other email apps, with each message clearly outlined. When you open an email conversation, only the first few sentences of all previous messages will display, but you'll see the full message of the most recent email in a thread. To expand previous emails, simply tap on the preview. Unfortunately, there is no way to expand all emails in the thread at one time.